Microsoft has announced that when their next generation OS, Windows 8, rolls around, customers won’t be able to play DVDs until they download extra third-party software. This applies to film DVDs, and does not affect software DVDs. Microsoft is justifying not including software to play films by saying that the use of DVDs on PCs and desktops have been in a sharp decline, and the company says that they would have to spend a significant amount in royalties to offer such a capability moving forward.
Microsoft will still offer a variety of codecs available for online media, which include H.264, VC-1, MP4, AAC, WMA, MP3, PCM and Dolby Digital Plus. This particular move might be a result of the movement of the industry away from optical media – personally, I haven’t really used my DVD player in a awhile, relying mostly on digital downloads and file transfers from USB drives and external HDDs. Newer notebooks such as ultrabooks rarely have optical disk drives as well, so this particular feature omission by Microsoft in Windows 8 might be justified.